Let’s think about this…
You didn’t start to smoke because you wanted to control your weight. You started because you were curious, or to be like your friends. Then… Oops! One day you discovered you’d become addicted to smoking. But… It was too late!
Once you were addicted to cigarettes, you started to smoke more, which changed your metabolism. Your weight may have been affected as a result. This is a possible secondary effect of nicotine addiction!
Nicotine can affect your weight in three main ways :
This possible side-effect of nicotine addiction may seem beneficial. However, it quickly proves to be very costly over time, since you experience :
Tobacco in no way gives you energy – it takes it away! Less energy means less desire and ability to be active, which means you use up less energy.
First of all, it is important to know why ex-smokers gain weight in the first place. Nicotine in the bloodstream acts as an appetite suppressant. This chemical interferes with the normal production of insulin that causes the body to feel hunger pangs. Smokers usually do not feel hungry most of the time, so the body has to double or triple its production of insulin in order to correct this “imbalance.” Once the person removes the suppressant, the body continues to produce that much insulin, causing the ex-smoker to feel hungry all the time. However, since the human physiology corrects “imbalances” given time, normal production of insulin usually happens after a few months.
Most quit-smoking counselors agree that the only way to counter this state of perpetual hunger after kicking the nicotine habit is to let it run its course. Depending on the metabolism of the person, some ex-smokers regain their dietary equilibrium in as short as 2 weeks while others may take as long as 6 months.
Instead of subscribing to various diet products (which can further complicated the problem,) experts are pointing to the direction of a healthier lifestyle. This means that the person is encouraged to switch to a more wholesome diet while increasing daily exercise.
A person can quit smoking without gaining weight by simply lessening or eliminating some or most or all of these foods from regular diet:
1. Sugar-rich foods or sugar based foods or foods that need sugar to taste (including sugar rich sodas and drinks.) Sugar increases appetite which leads the person to feel hungry even more; and even when the person already has a full stomach. There are artificial sugars that an ex-smoker can use. Pastries and sweets are rich in both sugar and carbohydrates. The latter also causes a person to eat more, so lessening carbohydrates (or at least, not combining carbohydrates with sugar) is a way to avoid additional weight gain.
2. Salty foods or salt based foods or foods that use too much salt to taste. Salt makes the person feel thirsty all the time. This usually leads to a lot of unnecessary water retention in the body. Also, salty foods are usually combined with carbohydrates or followed through with sweets, which also increase food intake.
Additionally, some smokers who like to go through the motions of lighting up tend to substitute the motion of placing food into the mouth – even when they do not feel hungry. Experts suggest taking up any hobby that uses the constant use of hands (like painting.)
Better yet, a person is encouraged to do more simple exercises like talking long strolls or walking the dog or simply going out for a swim. These activities help keep the mind away from smoking and food. At the same time, it also helps burn up a lot of calories for weight maintenance.
There is a healthier and easier way to control your weight: